Created on Monday, 24 September 2012 Written by MATT HAMMOND
ABOVE: Bellefontaine’s A.J. Gorham goes up for a catch over Indian Lake’s Hunter Vance during their game Saturday at Indian Lake High School. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Indian Lake’s L.J. Henderson scores the game-winning touchdown with 42 seconds left on the clock Saturday against Bellefontaine. The Chiefs’ Logan Mitchell attempts to make the tackle on the play. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | TONY BARRETT)
The 2012 Indian Lake-Bellefontaine football game looked a lot like the 2011 matchup between the two Logan County rivals.
After rallying from two touchdowns back in the fourth quarter to beat Bellefontaine 22-21 last year, Indian Lake pulled off a similar comeback Saturday to claim this year’s battle.
Trailing 24-14 in the fourth quarter, the host Lakers scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to grab a 28-24 victory.
L.J. Henderson’s 1-yard TD run with 42 seconds remaining was the game-winning score.
“It was déjà vu,” said Indian Lake head coach Dave Coburn. “We knew we just had to hang tough. We leaned on each other today and did a good job of overcoming ourselves.
“That was a valiant effort on Bellefontaine’s part. It is a shame someone had to lose that game.”
The game was finished Saturday after it was stopped early in the first quarter Friday because of lightning.
In the end, Bellefontaine was undone by turnovers. The Chiefs piled up 303 rushing yards and had 421 total yards, but they turned the ball over five times.
Both of Indian Lake’s fourth-quarter touchdowns were set up by Bellefontaine turnovers.
“We just made too many mistakes,” said Bellefontaine head coach Chris Schmidt. “In a close game like that, the turnover battle is usually going to be the difference and that was the case today.”
Indian Lake had been stung by turnovers during a three-game losing streak, but the Lakers were able to capitalize on the opponent’s mistakes Saturday.
“It was a matter of having some opportunities to make plays,” said Coburn. “We were fortunate to have some guys make plays.”
Nobody made more plays for the Lakers than junior Chris Teague. He rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown and picked off a pass and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown to spark the second-half comeback.
“Indian Lake is a team that will play hard for four quarters,” said Schmidt. “We had some chances to get some breathing room and we weren’t able to do it. They have some kids that can make plays, and they did that.”
Bellefontaine stole the momentum early on. Five plays after the game resumed, sophomore running back Jordan Baughman ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run that put the Chiefs up 7-0.
Zach Gingerich put Bellefontaine ahead 10-0 later in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal.
Indian Lake struck back. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Jalon Tuttle tossed a 52-yard TD pass to Dustin Dapice to bring the Lakers with three points at 10-7.
Bellefontaine pushed its lead back to 10 points with 9:48 left until halftime when Jake Kennedy threw a 38-yard scoring strike to Daniel Boy.
Neither team scored again until late in the third quarter. With Bellefontaine driving in Indian Lake territory, Teague stepped in front of a Chieftain pass and took it back for a TD to make the score 17-14.
Bellefontaine responded with a quick scoring drive to regain its 10-point advantage. Kennedy scored on a 23-yard run to put the visitors ahead 24-14 with 2:14 remaining in the third period.
A wild fourth quarter began with Indian Lake driving to the Chieftain 1-yard line. However, the Lakers lost a fumble.
At the time, it looked like a mistake that would be the backbreaker for the home team.
But the Lakers were able to take advantage of two late Bellefontaine turnovers to snatch away the win.
A Bellefontaine turnover at its own 39-yard line led to Teague’s 1-yard TD run that made the score 24-21 with 3:54 left.
Another Chieftain fumble was recovered by the Lakers at the Bellefontaine 18-yard line at the 2:44 mark.
Two runs by Teague and two runs by Henderson got Indian Lake to the Chieftain 1-yard line. Henderson capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge that gave the Lakers their first lead of the day.
Bellefontaine’s last gasp was ended on an interception by Tuttle on the game’s final play.
“We played well enough at times to win, but we didn’t play well enough for all four quarters,” said Schmidt.
Playing in his second game for the Chiefs, senior Antonio Wilson highlighted Bellefontaine’s rushing attack with 159 yards on 22 carries. Baughman added 119 yards on 14 rushes.
Kennedy threw for 119 yards on 10-of-19 passing. A.J. Gorham was the leading receiver with five catches for 66 yards. Boy had four grabs for 45 yards.
Indian Lake tallied 261 yards (190 rushing, 71 passing).
In addition to the big game from Teague, Henderson contributed 37 rushing yards on nine carries and Dapice had three catches for 67 yards.
Recovering fumbles for the Indian Lake defense were Kyle Roby, Simon Kirkpatrick and Cody Winegardner.
Keary Ginn recovered a fumble for Bellefontaine.
Bellefontaine returns to action Friday at Tippecanoe, while Indian Lake hosts Graham.
IL 28, BeLLE. 24
Bellefontaine 10 7 7 0 – 24
Indian Lake 7 0 7 14 – 28
TEAM STATISTICS BFN IL
First downs 16 11
Total net yards 421 261
Rushes/yards 47-303 37/190
Passing 118 71
Comp-att-int 10-19-2 5-10-0
Punts/avg 2/44 4/27
Fumbles-lost 3/3 3/1
Penalties-yards 6-35 2-10